Anti-carbon tax rally planned at Alberta legislature

A rally at the Alberta legislature Saturday hosted by right-wing media organization, The Rebel, is expected to draw critics of the NDP government’s proposed carbon tax.

The Rebel-organized event offered bus rides to those wanting to attend

The Rebel president Ezra Levant is hosting Saturday's anti-carbon tax rally at the Alberta legislature. (Canadian Press)

A rally at the Alberta legislature Saturday is expected to draw critics of the NDP government's proposed carbon tax.

The rally, called "Families for Saving Alberta," is hosted by The Rebel conservative media organization.

"The purpose of the rally is to show that (Premier) Rachel Notley and her NDP destroyers do not have the consent of Albertans to bring in job-destroying, family-hurting carbon tax," said Rebel president and right-wing journalist Ezra Levant.

By hosting the anti-NDP, anti-carbon tax rally, The Rebel takes a clear political position, something that raises questions about journalism ethics, said Brian Gorman, associate professor of communication studies at MacEwan University in Edmonton.

"If you're a journalist, you're supposed to be objective -- meaning open-minded and unallied with an ideology," Gorman said. "And they are clearly allied with an ideology, so to me that casts them in doubt as being any kind of trustworthy news media."

But the Wildrose MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Don MacIntyre, said he's more concerned with who attends the rally than about who organized it.

'Not my job to be the media police'

"It is incumbent upon us who are their elected representatives to be there, to hear their concerns, that's what's important to me," said MacIntyre, confirming he plans to attend. "It's not my job to be the media police."

“It’s not my job to be the media police,” says Wildrose MLA Don MacIntyre about the rally organizer. (David Dodge/Green Energy Futures)

The rally comes on the heels of the Wildrose calling on the Alberta government to hold a referendum on the carbon tax, approved in the legislature in June.

The federal government recently announced that all provinces must introduce a carbon tax by 2018.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean is scheduled to speak at the rally, but was unavailable to comment ahead of the protest.

Free bus rides offered

The Rebel has invited Albertans to join the rally, and is offering to bus supporters to Edmonton from Calgary and Red Deer to attend. Levant would not say who is paying for the buses.

"Do you need a ride to the big Rally for Alberta, this Saturday at the Legislature in Edmonton?" reads an email from Sheila Gunn Reid, The Rebel's Alberta bureau chief.

It's not the first time The Rebel has gone head to head with the Notley government.

In February, Gunn Reid was banned from covering a news conference at the legislature involving Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Notley later lifted the ban, saying her government had 'made a mistake' in preventing any media outlet from attending news conferences.

The government asked a former Edmonton journalist, Heather Boyd, to review legislature media policies. In her report released in March, 

Boyd concluded the government should stay out of decisions about who should be allowed to cover press conferences. Instead, she said those decisions should be left to journalists.

The rally Saturday starts at 1 p.m.